Cable News Ratings: CNN Falls to MSNBC in Primetime for Second Straight Week

Fox News beats MSNBC and CNN combined from 8-11 p.m.


Fox News remained the highest-rated network in all of cable primetime during the week ending Aug. 14, with MSNBC passing CNN for the second straight week — and only the second time in all of 2016 — during the hours of 8-11 p.m.

MSNBC finished seventh overall in primetime, averaging over 1 million viewers, while CNN’s 723,000 average viewers placed it at No. 16 among all cable networks. MSNBC aired the Olympics, but not during primetime, returning to regular programing for “MTP Daily” at 5 p.m., well before the 8 p.m. official start of primetime.

Fox News actually beat MSNBC and CNN combined in primetime and has been the highest-rated cable network during the daypart in nine of the past 10 weeks. Fox News averaged 1.8 million primetime viewers, topping NBC Sports Network’s Olympics coverage by roughly 600,000 per night. USA, TBS, HGTV and NBC Sports join Fox News atop primetime cable.

CNN’s drop is significant, as the network was the No. 1 cable channel in Monday-Sunday primetime and Monday-Friday prime, in terms of both total viewers and the key 25-54 news demo as recently as the week of July 25 during the Democratic Convention.

CNN also won the primetime demo during July sweeps but last week marked its second-lowest rated week of the year among adults 25-54 with 193,000 average viewers. Coming out of the GOP and Democratic conventions, MSNBC has topped CNN in total prime viewers all 11 weeknights of August.

Nickelodeon edged Fox News to win the total day category, averaging 1.3 million viewers compared to 1.2 million for FNC. Adult Swim, Cartoon Network and NBC Sports round out the top five among total day viewers.